Volume 13, issue 5 of the Journal of Clinical Neuroscience contains – in my opinion – a very strange article. It's called "Ethics in medical technologies: The Roman Catholic viewpoint" and is written by Joseph Życiński. I found a wiki-like version of the paper here. The article is not strange because of its topic per se, which is bioethics from a religious point of view. What I find strange is that the article is published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, and worse, that it is filled with religious dogma that are presented as axiomatic truths.
Even accepting these strange facts, I find it unacceptable that the article does not discuss critically other approaches such as Gazzaniga's recent book "The ethical brain" (see my blog entry here). With statements such as
According to Christian ethics, we are called upon to treat each and every living member of the human species, including the embryo, as a human person with fundamental rights, the first of which is the right to life.
… I wonder if the insightful criticism of Gazzaniga has ever been read or heard by Życiński. In this way, we can only guess at what the author's opinion is on more scientifically informed viewpoints.
Here is the abstract:
J Clin Neurosci. 2006 May 4;
New medical techniques and novel scientific discoveries bring many basic questions concerning the role of human dignity in medical research as well as in the society of the future. This paper presents the Roman Catholic approach to the use of new technologies, the research of human embryos, the ethical aspects of studies on the human genome. The concept of "human ecology", as proposed by John Paul II, is introduced to reconcile the academic freedom of research with insurmountable ethical barriers which must be recognized to defend human dignity. In critical appraisal of Peter Singer's concept of the quality of life the author points out that it is irrational to try to reduce this quality to the level of biological parameters. Human dignity as well as the sanctity of life express also a quality of life so important for the cultural growth of Homo sapiens. To protect human ecology it is our moral duty to defend human dignity and to recognize the importance of those values that are fundamental in the process of development of the human species.
And speaking of Gazzaniga, I should definitely remember to write the following parts of the book presentation.